12th April 2019
Diversions Vol. 4: The Songs And Poems Of Molly Drake
Side A: 1. What Can A Song Do To You? / 2. Dream Your Dreams / 3. Martha / 4. How Wild The Wind Blows / 5. Little Weaver Bird / 6. Bird In The Blue / 7. The Road To The Stars / 8. Set Me Free. Side B: 1. Woods In May / 2. I Remember / 3. Never Pine For The Old Love / 4. The Shell / 5. Soft Shelled Crabs / 6. Do You Ever Remember? / 7. The First Day
A wistful mother makes some simple home recordings in her family sitting room during the 1950s. Little could she have known that decades later, a daughter would become a successful actress, and her son one of the most poetic and influential songwriters ever. Less still, that more than sixty years later, the dust would be blown off her song collection, firstly in 2013 with the release of her own recordings, and now by The Unthanks, who believe her work is extraordinary enough to rank alongside and independently of her brilliant son, Nick Drake. The Unthanks have teamed up with Molly Drake's daughter, the actress Gabrielle Drake, who along with being an invaluable and generous guide to Molly's work, recorded her mother's poems for The Unthanks to set to music. So taken were the band by her performances, and by how she brought the poems to life, making them her own as well as serving her mother's words, that Gabrielle is truly given centre stage for parts of the record, with The Unthanks setting spoken word to music, rather than turning the poems into song. Never intended for public release, Molly Drake's recordings were of limited sound quality, made by amateur enthusiast and husband, Rodney Drake. In a climate where films, stories and music are being rehashed for spurious repeat exploitation, if ever a body of work actually merited reappraisal and fresh presentation, surely the work of Molly Drake is it. The Unthanks have also been able to interpret a few songs that Molly never recorded, based only on Gabrielle's memory of them, transferred to the band using the oral tradition. Bird In The Blue and Soft Shell Crabs are examples. Gabrielle Drake - spoken word; Rachel Unthank - voice; Becky Unthank - voice; Adrian McNally - piano, voice; Chris Price - double bass, guitar, voice; Faye MacCalman - clarinet, tenor sax; Martin Douglas - cymbals on 'Little Weaver Bird'.